Nokia, China Unicom use vMEC in BMW plant’s private LTE network

Nokia sign at MWC18
Nokia and China Unicom created a private LTE network using Nokia's vMEC solution. (FierceWireless)

Smart manufacturing isn’t all about 5G. Nokia and China Unicom announced they have created a private LTE network for a BMW Brilliance Automotive plant being built in the Liaoning province of China.

The deployment uses the Nokia virtualized Multi-access Edge Computing (vMEC) solution that will leverage China Unicom’s LTE network to provide low latency support for smart manufacturing activities at the plant.

Nokia’s MEC platform leverages communications service providers’ secure LTE networks to process data closer to where it is being used, delivering an ultraresponsive experience for business-critical applications, according to the vendor. It allows enterprises such as manufacturers to connect assets using sensors and automate activities including object tracking, video surveillance and video analytics.

The deployment was completed in October. Once integration with the enterprise network is complete, the private LTE network will support voice and data communication between staff at the plant as well as machine-to-machine communication, including wireless video monitoring, production line maintenance inspection, indoor navigation, industrial robots and indoor navigation.

“Smart manufacturing is a key priority for the transformation of the manufacturing industry in China and we are pleased to work with China Unicom on this important project,” said Gao Bo, head of the China Unicom customer team at Nokia Shanghai Bell, in a statement. “Being a software-only solution, the Nokia vMEC can be integrated easily into existing enterprise IT infrastructure to enhance business-critical processes and deliver new operational efficiency.”

Nokia also just announced its “Future X for industries” strategy, where the vendor points out that there are many different kinds of solutions and it will work with its customers to figure out what’s the best for the situation. That includes LTE, fixed wireless, unlicensed solutions, 5G and more.